Best of Chicago 2010: Sports and Recreation
Our favorite mini-golf course, ice-skating coach, go-carts, and more
Best mini-golf course: Par-King Skill Golf in Lincolnshire
Our best bets in sports and recreation around the area, including fishing spots, an adult dance class, a place to buy a kite, and more. PLUS: Tell us in the comments below, what are your favorites in Chicago sports and recreation?
SOCCER BAR THE GLOBE PUB This English-style pub lets fans of the beautiful game forget their outsider status in the United States, watching with like-minded folks in a friendly tavern that’s covered in team memorabilia and flat-screen TVs. Football matches from around the world grace the Globe’s sets, no matter the time zone. We suggest you arrive early—one recent Saturday before 9 a.m., the place was packed with Englishmen enjoying pints of beer with their breakfast. 1934 W. IRVING PARK RD.; 773-871-3757, THEGLOBEPUB.COM
GO-CARTS CHICAGO INDOOR RACING Don’t expect an ice-cream cone and a round of mini golf after this race. Your adrenaline will still be pumping while you’re peeling off your racing suit, helmet, and neck brace. Founded by professional racers, Chicago Indoor Racing offers two 700-foot courses for the 18-and-over crowd. While these go-carts look similar to the kiddie-funland kind, the engines go up to 35 mph, but it feels like 70 when you’re sitting only an inch above the ground. 301 HASTINGS DR., BUFFALO GROVE; 847-941-9400
NEW WORKOUT TABATA 2010 Introduced at Equinox this past April and already jam-packed every session, Tabata 2010 is an interval-training routine named for its 20-second bouts of high-intensity training followed by 10 seconds of rest. Is it hard? Let’s put it this way: Leisure walk is to sprint as working out is to Tabata 2010. Benefits of this sweat-soaking, muscle-growing 45-minute test of fortitude include fat burning, increased oxygen consumption, and snowballing strength. EQUINOX.COM FOR LOCATIONS
ICE-SKATING COACH DAVID SANTEE A four-time silver medalist at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships and two-time Olympian, David Santee now coaches competitive ice-skating six days a week, in both private lessons of 20 minutes or more and group classes on topics such as power skating or jumps. An internationally certified technical specialist, Santee teaches positively to increase skaters’ confidence—no old-school negative reinforcement. “I want skaters to be better people and better skaters,” Santee says. OAKTON ICE ARENA, 2800 W. OAKTON ST., PARK RIDGE; 847-692-3359
Foley PLAY-BY-PLAY MAN PAT FOLEY No, we didn’t choose Foley just because the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup. We chose him because he has all of the qualities anyone could want in a play-by-play man: deep knowledge, insight, passion, humor, objectivity, and the astonishing ability not only to keep up with the action blur of hockey but also to paint bang-bang word pictures that put us right there in the arena. It’s a bonus how his voice climbs an octave or two when the Hawks “SCOOOOORE!”
MINIATURE GOLF COURSE PAR-KING SKILL GOLF There’s no putting at windmills at Par-King Skill Golf. Instead, players at this 36-hole miniature golf course send their balls to the green via a Sears Tower elevator, a wooden roller coaster, or a Rube Goldberg contrivance called the Super Looper. Other holes challenge with colorful, offbeat obstacles and adornments, including two that date back to George’s Gorgeous Golfing Gardens, the 1950s course that inspired Par-King. Hit the zero on the 18th-hole roulette wheel and win a free game. (Playing 18 holes—on either the red or the black course—costs between $7 and $8.50, depending on your tee time; no admittance to children under four feet tall.) 21711 MILWAUKEE AVE., LINCOLNSHIRE; 847-634-0333, PAR-KING.COM
NEW ADULT DANCE CLASS MOPED Imagine a dance class where there are no steps to learn, no choreography to dwell on. No posture or movement is right or wrong. That’s what happens in MoPeD, a cringeworthy acronym for More People Dancing, a new improv dance class created by Ronn Stewart. The result is a roomful of people dancing like they’re alone in their living rooms, with outstretched arms, flailing legs, and liberated smiles. OFFERED AT GIORDANO DANCE SCHOOL, 614 DAVIS ST., EVANSTON, 847-866-9442; AND AT JOFFREY ACADEMY OF DANCE, 10 E. RANDOLPH ST., 312-784-4600
HIKE WITHIN TWO HOURS TRAILS 7–10, INDIANA DUNES STATE PARK Trying to find a demanding, bucolic, secluded hiking trail close to Chicago is to seek incongruity. Fittingly, the outdoorsman Ted Villaire (tedvillaire.com) suggests heading for one of the biggest incongruities of all. Within 20 miles of the industrial blemish of the Gary steel plants, Indiana Dunes State Park offers a rugged and gorgeous escape for even experienced hikers. Trails 7, 8, 9, and 10 wind through quiet forests and over sand dunes and reveal glorious views out across Lake Michigan. On a clear day, from the top of a dune, you can see downtown Chicago rise from the horizon like a ghostly island, and any thoughts of incongruity are lost in the loveliness of the moment. IN.GOV/DNR/PARKLAKE/2980.HTM
PLACE TO BUY A KITE CHICAGO KITE If you buy just any old kite at, say, Target or off the Internet, a few bad things might happen. The kite might break easily, or it might not stand up to our erratic Midwestern winds, or it might be too hard for novices to fly. The greatest concentration of problem-averting kite knowledge resides at the topflight Chicago Kite. The owner, Dave Zavell, recommends a $15 nylon (not plastic) kite for beginners. “If it’s kept up like a car, it will last a lifetime,” he says. 5445 N. HARLEM AVE.; 773-467-1428, CHICAGOKITE.COM
APPLE PICKING MORE THAN DELICIOUS ORCHARD U-pick operations tend to fall into one of two camps: simple rural orchard experience or hyperactive carnival explosion. Those looking for the latter will find moonwalks, petting zoos, and corn mazes aplenty throughout the exurbs. But for purists, the satisfying draws at this McHenry County tract are the 80 varieties of well-kept apples (including Honeycrisp) and the laid-back atmosphere of blissful autumn tranquillity. One frill we wouldn’t mind seeing, though—how about a few cider doughnuts for the effort? 9905 THOMPSON RD., WOODSTOCK; 815-338-2309, MORETHANDELICIOUS.COM
FISHING SPOT, CITY JACKSON PARK LAGOON Casual anglers might be surprised to learn that Lake Michigan offers good fishing—and then dismayed to find crowds and noise when arriving at the big harbors. Which makes the interlocking lagoons of Jackson Park, hidden on the south side of the Museum of Science and Industry, a real find. With South Lake Shore Drive muted, thanks to a thicket of mulberry, elder, and poplar trees, the lagoons are a perfect place to zone out while dropping in lines for largemouth bass, catfish, and bluegill.
FISHING SPOT, SUBURBS BUSSE LAKE Some people go fishing for a trophy, some for sport, and some for dinner. The versatile Busse Lake, in the Cook County forest preserve near Elk Grove Village, lures all types. The lake holds largemouth bass, bluegill, bullhead, northern pike, walleye, sunfish, and crappie, and in another couple of years muskie released in 2007 will have grown to a substantial size. The crowds along the shoreline deter some people, but the variety and size of the fish and the close-to-downtown location tip the scales for us.
PLUS: FOR OUR PICKS FOR CYCLISTS, SEE BEST OF CHICAGO 2010: BIKING
Photography: (Par-King) Andrew Huff via Flickr; (Foley) Courtesy of the Blackhawks